Music Junkie – Nael Atweh

Here’s the scenario.

You are a young musician living in a big city, living in a “shitty” studio apartment on the outskirts of one of those trendy-ass neighborhoods where all of the hipsters roam freely. You have put in your cliché a percentage of blood, sweat and tears. You’re now ready to take your music career to the next level. You want to focus on the art and only the art. You are ready for a manager.

This is where someone like Nael Atweh comes in. Nael is an up and
coming music manager who is well connected, down to earth, and always willing to lend a helping hand to superstars and nobodies. Take a
moment to soak in music advice from someone who is definitely making
moves at a rapid speed. Here is my sit down with Nael Atweh.

The interview>

MJ: Give me a detailed description of what you do as a manager.
NA: As a manager, my job is to book sessions, coordinate schedules, get
new business and find new talent. Currently, I only manage songwriters
and producers, work closely with major labels, publishing companies
and other management firms. Selling music, signing new acts and
building brands is basically my everyday life.

MJ: Was this always something you’ve wanted to do? If not, what did
you do prior to this and how did that lead you into what you’re doing
NA: I’ve always wanted to work in entertainment, but didn’t know which
area. Prior to management I was working in sales. I did extremely
well, but wasn’t happy. One day my brother asked me to come to L.A and
6 months later I was full-time in the music industry. I started my
career doing MySpace promotions and eventually found my first client.
It’s all uphill from there!

MJ: What’s your ethnic background & where are you from?
NA: I was born and raised in Toronto, Canada. My parents are from
Palestine. I currently live in Los Angeles.

MJ: Who’s career would you like to mirror and why?
NA: I would like to mirror my brother, Nasri Atweh. The reason I
picked my brother is because he’s the prime example of how to make it.
He struggled and suffered, but never veered away from his goals. He’s
currently sitting on a multi-million dollar company, “The Messengers”.
He always showed me the hard way, but never let me give up.

MJ: What are you looking for when seeking out talent?
NA: Someone who wants it more than me. Someone who stands out amongst the crowd. Someone who doesn’t pay attention to negativity and only puts his/her focus on the craft. Talent has many faces, but the work ethic is all the same.

MJ: Do you have any experience with writing, singing, or performing?
Do you feel that managers should have some sort of musical background?
NA: I’ve been writing and singing since I was a child. It’s definitely
not a requirement as a manager, but helps when you’re giving feedback
to your clients.

MJ: Have you had any hard times throughout your journey? If so, give
me a description on how that has affected you?
NA: I deal with rejection everyday. The hard times are part of the
business. It only affects me in a positive way. I was taught that every NO will eventually lead to a big fat YES. All my friends don’t believe in me and always shared their lack of belief. Till this day, they think it’s all a joke. It’s hard when your friends don’t believe in you, but it’s great when you still believe in yourself.

MJ: Who are some of the most successful people you’ve worked with so far?
NA: The most successful people I’ve worked with are: Chris Brown,
Justin Bieber, The Messengers, Universal Music, EMI publishing, The
Youngastronauts, and a bunch of talented writers and producers.

MJ: What’s the best advice you can give to an artist trying to make it
in the music industry?
NA: The best advice I can give is work hard everyday. Stay current
with what’s hot. Learn to listen and put all your focus on the craft.
Don’t waste your time learning something new until you’ve mastered
your craft. I would suggest any artist to not play the roll as a
manager and focus on the music. Also, never talk shit about another
person behind their back. It’s a very small world and negativity
spreads like a wildfire.

MJ: How important is having a good team/manager for an artist?
NA: Having a team support you is like having a family. You’re there
for each other when times get tough and in this business you need
support all the time. Some artist do it on there own, but once the
money starts rolling they quickly seek support. Nothing great can be
done alone. Some way or another you will need a little help.

MJ: What is your ultimate goal as far as your career is concerned?
NA: My ultimate goal is to build our company and build my name as a
celebrity manager. Not just managing artist and producers, but
managing brands. I would love to see my company on the stock exchange
one day. Big goal, but somebody has to do it.

It is always inspiring to hear someone at Nael’s status admit to hard times. Everyone and anyone who is in the music business, just beginning or at the top, can totally relate. This interview also showed me the importance of having a good team behind you. Let’s be realistic; nothing great can be done alone.

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